CMSV Releases Fishlinger Optimism Index Results: Americans More Optimistic about Social Progress


The Fishlinger Optimism Index™, a measure of public opinion centered on Americans’ optimism about the future, published by the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, rose to 69 percent in June—possibly attributable to the stock market’s record performance during the first half of the year.

Americans’ optimism, particularly regarding Social Progress, rose significantly, according to the results. This was influenced by former F.B.I. director James Comey’s testimony to Congress, the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, and the Senate’s failure to pass an unpopular plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Internationally, the beginnings of recovery in Europe as well as French president Emmanuel Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen may have also helped boost optimism.

More than an economic measurement, the Fishlinger Optimism Index™ is built on opinion data for public officials, social/political issues, beliefs about the United States’ place in the world, and a series of value statements dealing with individuals’ feelings of success and security, as well as from ratings of government policies and officials. In measuring national leadership, the Fishlinger Optimism Index™ assesses public expectations for the effectiveness of federal policy and quality of governance both domestically and in global affairs. Social progress examines the potential for progressive reform. Personal prosperity explores individuals’ sense of achievement and economic stability.

In this study, the Fishlinger Center conducted online national surveys focusing on political issues in the United States. The fieldwork for the polls was conducted using a blended national panel form Survey Sampling, Inc. Interviews were conducted November 29-December 15, 2016 and January 3-June 30, 2017. The credibility interval for 1,000 respondents is plus or minus three percentage points. The credibility interval is larger for subgroups and for differences between polls.

In addition to credibility interval, the polls are subject to other potential sources of error including, but not limited to, coverage and measurement error. Data was rim-weighted to match the national population on age, sex, Hispanic origin, and race. Question wording and topline results are available at


The Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research opened in February 2015 at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The Center conducts deep and broad studies of public opinion on key public policy concerns through independent and objective research conducted by students, faculty, and other members of the academic community. The Center is sponsored by William and Joan Fishlinger who wish to offer a forum for discourse that can stimulate intelligent dialogue about issues that deeply affect all Americans. The Center aims to enhance the relationship between the work of the College and the common good. Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, CMSV offers nationally-recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River in Riverdale, in the North West Bronx.